For balancing load, a forwarder can selectively direct data from the forwarder to a processor according to a loading parameter. The selective direction includes forwarding the data to the processor for processing, transforming and/or forwarding the data to another node, and dropping the data. The forwarder can also adjust the loading parameter based on, at least in part, feedback received from the processor. One or more processing elements can store values associated with one or more flows into a structure without locking the structure. The stored values can be used to determine how to direct the flows, e.g., whether to process a flow or to drop it. The structure can be used within an information channel providing feedback to a processor.
 Portions of this invention were made with U.S. Government support under contract/instrument Department of Energy SBIR DE-SC0004400 and DE-SC0006343. The U.S. Government has certain rights in the invention.